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'Mafia Capital' mobsters jailed in major trial

20 luglio 2017 | 14.29
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Rome's mayor Virginia Raggi (right in photo)

An Italian court on Thursday handed lengthy prison sentences to a one-eyed former neo-Fascist mobster and his sidekick for masterminding a mafia-style racket that plundered millions of euros from Rome City Hall.

After a marathon 20-month trial at a high-security prison, Massimo Carminati was jailed for 20 years, and Salvatore Buzzi, for 19.

Forty-four other people were in the dock in the landmark trial in which several other gang members were jailed, as well as former politicians.

All the trial defendants were cleared of the charge of mafia association.

Carminati allegedly told his lawyer he was "satisfied" with his sentence.

Rome's grassroots mayor Virginia Raggi was in court to hear the reading of the verdicts, which Italian television broadcast live at the end of the trial.

Carminati and Buzzi can appeal Thursday's ruling by Rome judges.

Prosecutors had asked for the pair to be sent to prison for 28 years and 26 years respectively.

The mobsters were accused of masterminding a racket that ran key municipal services including garbage collection, park maintenance and refugee centres, by bribing and intimidating a large number of politicians, city council clerks and businessmen.

The 'Mafia Capital' investigation laid bare rampant corruption in Rome as politicians, civil servants and businessmen colluded with the mobsters to rig public tenders and cream off public funds.

Many blame for the racket for the poor state of services in the capital.

The scandal paved the way for the landslide victory achieved by Raggi - from the anti-establishment Five Star Movement party - in last year's mayoral race.

Other prominent figures on trial included the former head of Rome's garbage collection utility, Franco Panzironi, and Luca Gramazio, the former speaker in Rome's regional parliament for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's conservative Forza Italia party.

Rome's former rightwing mayor Gianni Alemanno was also caught up in the scandal. Charges were dropped against him in the case but he is facing a separate trial for corruption and illegal party funding.

Carminati, 58, has already spent years of his life in jail, and lost his eye in a shootout with police in 1981.

He was a member of a notorious far-right group that bombed Bologna railway station killing 85 people in 1980.

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